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19-y/o tech enthusiast/work in progress. All things STEM, business, and behaviour.

Using Python to Find Regulatory Motifs in the Genome

Illustration by Murto Hilali

If I asked you to find me a needle in a haystack, you’d oblige only out of etiquette.

If I then told you there are actually 10 needles in the haystack and they all look slightly different, rage would consume you as punched my teeth out.


This is the mission biologists face when looking for regulatory motifs. These are short DNA segments in the genome that bind transcription factors (TFs). TFs are proteins that raise or lower the transcription levels (the expression) of other genes.

Like the needles, regulatory motifs are often similar to each other but not identical…

A lesson in sustainable distribution for the creator economy

Photo by Melanie Deziel on Unsplash

The Internet has always been a creator economy. What’s new? Now, you can distribute content almost as easily as code.

If you’re one of the 50 million people worldwide who identifies as a creator, one of the biggest challenges you’ll face is scaling your content without burning out.


The best way to do that? A pyramid scheme.

Hear me out.

For many career creators — or people on that path — distributing their content can be harder than creating it.

Using Python to find the ori region of the E. coli genome

Illustration by Icons 8 from Ouch!

Did you know that almost half of all marriages in the US end in divorce? The union between biology and code is not one of those marriages, and I’ll have proven it to you by the end of this article.

In an earlier piece, I looked for DnaA boxes within the ori region of V. cholerae. But what if we don’t know where ori is in the genome?

The secret lies in transmuting bio-knowledge into code-based solutions.

(This article assumes you have a comfortable grasp on Python and DNA replication.)

“Let’s talk about DNA replication, bay-bee!” — Salt-N-Pepa, 1990.

Bacteria replicate their genomes asymmetrically.

  • Half is copied continuously: DNA…

Using Python to visualize genomic data

“Your genome looks like if Vincent van Gogh painted a QR code…”

… is not a pickup line that has worked for me yet, but it ain’t over ‘til it’s over.

George Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte is the most famous pointillism painting of all time —where thousands of dots form a work of art.

DnaA Box Detection using Python in the ori Region of the V. cholerae Genome

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

How do you move a tank that weighs 36 metric tons across a river with only 6 soldiers to help? It’s a difficult problem, but the solution can be drawn out by a child in crayon.

Don’t believe me? We’ll get to that. First, let’s talk biology.

The next world-changing technology will be biological. Biotech will cure our diseases, make healthier food, and improve our quality of life.

A lot of that depends on understanding the genome, all the DNA that tells our cells what to do and make.

The genome is a language, and we need more people who can understand it.

Genetic data fluency is ground zero for the future of biotech…

Trying to understand the mystery around digital audio

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash

You’ve probably heard the hype around audio in the past year or two. (See what I did there?)

My ears perked up when I heard that Spotify bought Anchor and Gimlet Media for $340 million in 2019, and again when Spotify allegedly spent $100 million to get Joe Rogan’s podcast exclusive to the platform.

And it’s not just podcasts. The whole audio space is heating up — did you hear about Clubhouse’s latest valuation? The exclusive, audio-only social app is believed to be worth $1 billion.

Here’s my rundown on why audio is interesting and who’s capitalizing on it:

Why is audio interesting?


By Author

Using real business principles to rank influencer products

In January, ad rates on sites like YouTube tend to drop — companies shell out for the holidays, then pinch pennies next quarter.

When digital-first creators are at the mercy of unpredictable algorithms and seasonal ad rates, many respond by becoming businesses themselves, which is French for ‘make their own products’.

Analyzing some of these products gives me the perfect chance to marry two of my obsessions: YouTube content & business strategy.

Here are our contenders:

  • David’ Perfume (David Dobrik)
  • Ani Energy (Sway Boys)
  • The Curiosity Box (Vsauce)
  • Gamer Girl Bath Water (Belle Delphine)

David’s Perfume

David Dobrik is one of the biggest influencers in the…


How (and why) synthetic biology wants to reprogram your cells

Welcome to WIP Primers, a series of articles from Work In Progress that will give you a <5 minute crash course on an Irish stew of deep science, tech, and business topics.

Our goal is to marinate your brains so they can really absorb the seasoning of our more technical episodes. (I’m famished, if you couldn’t tell).

Let’s get into it!

Table of Contents

  • Definitions
  • An Imperfect Analogy
  • Use Cases
  • Looking Ahead
  • Companies + People to Look Out For
  • Want More?



A system of electrical conductors and components forming a complete and closed path.

We usually find electrical circuits in machinery and…

The 200 IQ strategies that made Among Us win quarantine

screenshot of character from Among Us game

Yeah heartbreak sucks, but have you ever been murdered by your bro outside of cams? (Looking at you, Ariful). If you don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, you probably haven’t heard of Among Us.

Which companies are best positioned to take advantage of the new virtual healthcare wave?

I turned 18 recently which means I’ll soon have to face the most terrifying challenge of adulthood — making my own doctor’s appointments. (AHHHHHHH).

But a crisis is a terrible thing to waste — and telehealth got the memo. Virtual care adoption is skyrocketing like SpaceX’s chunky Starhopper, and these companies may be pulling it forward (in no particular order):

  1. Livongo
  2. Teladoc
  3. Propeller
  4. Omada
  5. Ro

Regulations have been relaxed, secrets spilled, and hearts broken (I assume), but it’s here — the age of telemedicine. Let’s get some definitions out of the way first:

  1. Telehealth/telemedicine: some form of bilateral communication between…

Murto Hilali

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